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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Oct 31, 2006 10:12am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: rhino release


I agree that w/the advent of new tech. and such, they tried to experiment w/diff. sounds (midis, reverb, space-related bells &whistles, etc.) and maybe they even tried to expand on some songs that had more limited jams in the 70's (compare any '77 Cassidy to an '81 or '84 or '91 and that bears out--the song was shorter and less daring in its jamming in the '70's)...

BUT I think the point is that as much as they tried to branch out in the post-Keith years there was (IMO) an almost undeniable drop-off in their execution, and abilities.

Jerry sure never sounded as good vocally in the '80's as he did in the 70's...the jamming was actually more focused (listen to a '73 Here Comes Sunshine or the Eyes'StrongerThanDirt jams or Let it Grow and it's jazzier, more like what a well-trained musician would play)...

They lost the ease and flow and sheer grooviness of a year like '77 for a more isolated approach in the 80's--each player more into his "own thing" during a song, which is why a lot of the problems they had in the 80's were a kind of choppiness to the playing...they did not sound as in synch w/each other and as a result you'd get a lot of uneven shows...some sparks of brilliance but a lot of plodding fodder in between marked by off-notes, croaky vocals, forgotten lyrics, and a sound that often resulted in what John Stewart once said was "6 guys playing a completely different song all at the same time."

Look, it IS all subjective ultimately, and I know you can point to numerous 80's shows that are legendary and deservedly so--10-12-84 right off the top of my head) but I would urge you to go back and listen to as many '77 shows, 72 and '73 and even some '74 shows and really judge the quality of the execution of their playing as opposed to a show from '85 or '87, or '88, ('89 was a comeback of sorts) and see if your opinion doesn't change slightly.

If not, hey, that's what makes horse races.